Greening the green space: exploring the emergence of Canadian ecological literature through ecofeminist and ecocritical perspectives

Bondar, Alanna F. (2003) Greening the green space: exploring the emergence of Canadian ecological literature through ecofeminist and ecocritical perspectives. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

According to Gaile McGregor, nature has largely been associated in Canada with a ''violent duality," that "is not accessible and [where] no mediation or reconciliation is possible." Faced with an unexpected, unexplainable, and unimaginable wilderness, Americans, Annette Kolodny theorizes, fantasized the pastoral ideal-that nurturing feminine landscape-into daily reality, while Canadians, according to Northrop Frye, Margaret Atwood, Tom Marshall, D. G. Jones, W. H. New, Coral Ann Howells, and McGregor, erased pastoral expectations, and replaced them with stories of disaster and survival. Margaret. Atwood explores "the North," within this tradition, as a place "hostile to white men, but alluring" (19), as a place explored, experienced, and colonized almost exclusively by men. Atwood challenges us to examine women's wilderness writing in relation to masculinist texts that paint Canadian landscape as "a sort of icy and savage femme fatale who will drive you crazy and claim you for her own." -- In compliance with Kolodny's theories of "pastoral impulse," Lawrence Buell's and Terry Gifford's "post-pastoral," and Murphy's "proto/ecological literature," Michael Branch theorizes how the "topological imperative" demonstrates an American "need to have a culture develop in the greatness of the landscape" (284). Canadians, in contrast, seem to have developed a 'topological departure.' Thus, for the Canadian scholar, ecocriticism poses many unique cultural and political complexities, and cannot be easily transplanted from Europe or America and applied to Canadian literature. Though Canadians write profusely about nature, in general, they do not reflect an eco-consciousness in a nature aesthetic that strives towards biotic community as Gary Snyder, W. S. Merwin, A. R. Ammons, and Wendell Berry have in the U.S.A. -- I believe that an ecological consciousness can be found in the Canadian literary tradition-in both theory and literature-but that its continued love/hate relationship with nature stems from an inability to think outside of, or even aspire beyond, inherited European conventions. Focusing on, though not limited to women writers, this study explores the ways in which ecofeminist writers-as those who identify with the marginalized position of nature in society, and are likewise, identified with a mysterious and feared wilderness-environment-revisit the human-nature dynamic through an emerging Canadian (proto)ecological literary sub-genre.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10174
Item ID: 10174
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 420-450.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 2003
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Ecofeminism in literature; Ecology in literature.

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